Thermoformer TEQ says introduction of Finite Element Analysis and software simulation has enhanced packaging

Leading international thermoformer TEQ – which has a UK base in Nottinghamshire – is benefiting from using cutting-edge computer simulation techniques to boost packaging functionality and sustainability.

The global company uses Finite Element Analysis (FEA) to support Simulation-Driven Product Development (SDPD) which allows the prediction of product specifications in the early design phase.

With the advantage of reducing manufacturing time considerably, software simulations – aided by FEA – are now firmly established as a key priority for many manufacturers.

FEA has emerged in recent years as the most widely used numerical analysis for solving problems of engineering and mathematical models. It works by using a set numerical method to solve partial differential equations in two or three space variables.

Anne-Sophie Belamine, European Sales Director at TEQ, said: “By using FEA to assist with structural analysis, we are able to determine the optimum shape, material and thickness that will meet all aspects of a customer’s packaging requirements whilst eliminating the guesswork.

“With the ability to predict product specifications at the early design stages simulation is a very intuitive tool during the development process.”

Computer-aided simulation techniques have increased rapidly in the last decade and their adoption worldwide has played a leading role in reshaping the manufacturing industry.

Other benefits of SDPD include:

  • Enabling engineers to think more freely on new design ideas
  • Shortening design cycle times and increasing speed to market
  • Anticipating potential problems and reacting more quickly to design changes
  • Improving alignment with customers
  • Reducing development costs
  • Reducing physical prototyping and testing

TEQ, which was acquired last year by global packaging solutions leader Sonoco, offers a complete range of cleanroom-manufactured and injection-moulded packaging to the medical, pharmaceutical, and commercial sectors.

Alongside TEQ, which operates two European sites, in the UK and Poland, Netherlands-based Sonoco Plastics produces millions of injection-moulded parts with high optical properties for use in diagnostic and clinical chemistry instruments.

In the US, TEQ has three thermoforming facilities and one extrusion operation. With more than 50 locations across the world, TEQ, as part of Sonoco, is now a truly global packaging business.

As customers work to address critical health requirements associated with Covid-19, TEQ also continues to offer a range of high-quality medical packaging solutions.

The company’s specially commissioned Class 7 and 8 cleanroom facilities in the UK at Hucknall Industrial Park, near Nottingham, and Poznan, Poland are both certified to ISO 13485: 2016. This enables TEQ to meet medical device and pharmaceutical manufacturers’ most rigorous packaging requirements.

TEQ’s medical packaging range includes clamshells, dosage cups, trays, tubs, lids and sterile barrier blisters. It also manufactures custom thermoformed handling trays, including dry powder inhalers, auto-injectors, injection-moulded components, pre-filled syringes and pharmaceutical bottles.

The company also produces recyclable, moulded-pulp-fibre packaging under its Fibrepak sub-brand for commercial customers.